Just the Ticket: Providing Strategic and Legal Leadership That Makes the Grade

Sunny Gonzalez-Cepero Finance, Issue 16 - March/April 2015, Legal Leave a Comment

Rob Loewer, General Counsel and Director of Finance at National Railway Equipment, draws on an impressive educational and professional background, lessons from his childhood, and an ability to turn joy into skill to effectively lead his teams

Robert Loewer, JD, MBA, MA, serves as both General Counsel and Director of Finance at National Railway Equipment (NRE), a global locomotive manufacturer and distributor. As the legal and strategic leader of the company, Loewer oversees a variety of tasks, including joint ventures, strategic collaborations, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). In his tenure, NRE has grown by 300 percent as a result of product development, international market expansion and M&A.

His impressive educational and professional background in law and consulting, combined with an early love of the business world and a highly developed emotional quotient (EQ), have steered Loewer’s career path and transformed him into a dynamic, high-performance executive.

Fulfillment Through Business

“My interest in the business world and leadership were instilled in me at an early age,” Loewer explained. Some of his early childhood memories are of spending evenings watching PBS’ “Wall Street Week in Review” with his father. Loewer was distinctly drawn to the business topics on the show, and his father took the time to explain the basics of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), corporations, and products and services.

“It’s kind of an odd childhood memory, but I just recall really liking it,” Loewer said. “[The CEOs on the program] were explaining how they were competing and growing their companies, and I thought, ‘This is really interesting.’”

In college, Loewer assessed his options and his skills sets. Having developed strong verbal, written and analytical skills via his Political Science and History majors, he felt law school was his best option.

“During law school, I soon discovered that I excelled at the law school coursework involving business,” Loewer said. “That’s when I realized my true passion was business.”

He was captivated by the intricacies of the corporate world: “The strategies and operations of business were really intrinsically fascinating to me,” Loewer shared. And pursuing a career path in direct alignment with his proficiencies and propensities has brought him a deep sense of fulfillment in his work. “I have self-actualization by helping create and build businesses. It’s something that’s very fulfilling. It’s a part of one of the dimensions of who I am, and it helps give my life purpose and meaning.”

The EQ Factor
“One of my fundamental beliefs is that anyone can do anything with enough motivation.”

Prior to joining NRE, Loewer worked in the consulting world. He performed detailed business evaluations and completed various projects involving strategy, finance and marketing. The traits he developed during this time have proven to be applicable and valuable to his current line of work.

One characteristic that has served him particularly well has been a heightened EQ, the ability to evaluate, monitor and appropriately use emotional information to guide behavior. Honing his EQ has given him the foundation “to collaborate with others in an organization in a way to achieve the company’s goals; to be able to advocate and negotiate with key stakeholders—i.e., customers, vendors, lenders—and to work internally to implement the company’s strategic and operational objectives.”

Loewer’s consulting and business roots taught him to understand individuals’ reactions, motivations and points of view. This knowledge, he said, “is important in helping persuade people, present things to them, and motivating them to do what needs to be done.” His EQ also has helped him develop close and meaningful business relationships.

“Simply put,” Loewer said, “in business you’re really working with people. And it’s extremely important to address the emotional context and the reactions of others. And do that in a way that works for them and results in what’s best for the company.”

loewerMotivation & Vision

Loewer finds motivation to be paramount to professional success. “One of my fundamental beliefs is that anyone can do anything with enough motivation,” he said. “Some people have greater obstacles and it’s going to take them a little longer, but I really feel that anyone can do anything.”

In his own life, Loewer has been able to keep motivated and focused because of his deep love of and fulfillment from his work in business. When motivating team members, he tries to help them understand the vision of the company, the importance of the mission and the impact each person has on the company as a whole.

Loewer believes that helping employees and mentees grasp the company’s goals and their individual roles in the bigger picture can add meaning and purpose in their lives. “I like to remind people that what they are doing is value added,” he said. When people understand that they are involved in something that is positive and constructive, “they become more empowered. And it also gives them the capability to tailor the job and understand how to best do it.”

When everyone is working together to accomplish a common purpose, everyone feels like a partner, and internal motivation is the byproduct.

Translating Joy Into Skill

When Loewer mentors up-and-comers, he focuses on helping them pinpoint what they enjoy doing. He then guides them in converting those skills into employer assets.

“It’s important for young professionals to understand what their value is, and what value they can bring to employers,” he said. This will clue them into where to seek out opportunities as well as equip them with tools for success.

“Follow your passion. Look for what you enjoy. So much will follow after that. Life is too short to be miserable,” Loewer said, advising those new to the business world or seeking out a change. “People you are networking with and potential employers can feel that enthusiasm and that motivation.”♦

Rob Loewer On People, Monitoring & Risk-Taking

Early in his career, Loewer gleaned several lessons from mentors and business experiences, which have positively impacted his career. Here, he reflects on three key lessons:

  1. People. “The most important thing in any business is people.”

Make sure that you have a solid team and the key players that you need for your purpose.

  1. Monitoring. “It’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure a project is done right.

Always follow up on the most important things.” Following up on priority tasks is essential. Don’t count on others to take care of it.

  1. Risk-taking. “Sometimes you do have to move on imperfect information.”

Assess your risk; if it’s a suitable risk to take with the amount of information you have, take action.

Sunny Gonzalez-Cepero

Sunny Gonzalez-Cepero

Contributing Writer at Forefront Magazine
Sunny Gonzalez-Cepero, a Key West, Florida native, has been a writing aficionado since she could hold a chunky crayon and scribble across her Granny's walls. Her love of writing fueled her career path, and eventually grew to encompass other arts, including web design and photography.

Professional profiles, photojournalism, and legal writing are Sunny's specialties; her personal, creative, edgy approach makes her stand apart in the industry. Her clientele has included over three dozen law firms around the country; international businesses such as LiveStrong and Howcast; American favorites like Family Fun and Natural News; and regional publications such as Rutherford Woman and Conch Color.
As a mom of six, fitness enthusiast, and self-employed business woman, she stays busy in her island home with her middle school sweetheart and husband Michael, and makes time to travel regularly. If she's not jogging on down the islands, shooting an event, or writing up a storm, you can find her at Sunfire Creatives or on Facebook.
Sunny Gonzalez-Cepero

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